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Old May 26, 2012, 06:45 PM   #1
1Hobie
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Question about shotgun loads for SD

I know this subject has been beat to a pulp, but I have a question about the physics of a shotgun load.

I've learned that bird shot won't penetrate enough in most situations to mortally wound an assailant. I've wondered though if getting hit in the chest at in-home distance with one ounce of lead, even though it's pellets, moving at 1100-1200fps wouldn't at least knock the crap out of the bad guy and give you a chance of a follow up shot if necessary.

I might be off on this but using an on-line calculator it seems that a one ounce load moving at 1100fps would generate about 1173 ft.lbs of energy at the muzzle. Even if you 1/2'd that, it would be quite a punch.

Just curious and if I'm way off base, be gentle 'cuz I'm fragile.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone. God bless those who gave all. Hand Salute!

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Old May 26, 2012, 07:32 PM   #2
Don P
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oo buck should do. the slug you talk of is great IF you hit what you aim at
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Old May 26, 2012, 07:38 PM   #3
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Actually, I was talking about a one ounce mass of pellets moving along in a short space, basically a wad of lead starting to spread out, but moving along with the 1 ounce still contained to a "ball" of lead. Not a deer slug.

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Old May 26, 2012, 07:41 PM   #4
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if you know an expert re loader, a buck and ball load gives you the best of both worlds.

A friend of mine experimented with a load of no 3 buck with a steel ball bearing nested on top of the shot. An appropriately, sized lead ball could be substituted for the ball bearing. Test showed the loading to be effective with a good spread of buck and fair accuracy with the round ball.

This loading was used in the Civil war by several Militia units who were issued smooth bore muskets due to a shortage of rifles. The range was limited, but was devastating at close range. These units were often held in reserve and used to reinforce units which were about to be overwhelmed the massed infantry attacks.
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Old May 26, 2012, 07:48 PM   #5
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Okay, let's get back to my original question: Will the 1173 foot pounds of 1 ounce of lead(at the muzzle), even though the pellets are starting to disperse at 15 feet, knock the dog poop out of the perp?
At that range, if you can't put a wad of lead on the target, 00 buck isn't going to help that much either. Not enough distance to disperse.

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Old May 26, 2012, 07:54 PM   #6
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No, because it is NOT a 1ounce load hitting at one time, but 473 pellets each with their own energy per pellet hitting
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Old May 26, 2012, 08:01 PM   #7
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All right, now have what I was looking for! Please explain how 473 pellets hitting at the same time, slightly dispersed, wouldn't have the same mass as a solid?
I'm not arguing, just learning.

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Old May 26, 2012, 08:10 PM   #8
1Hobie
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A thought.

If I shot a solid 1 ounce load at something, it would penetrate how ever far. But, if I took that 1 ounce and spread it over a 3 inch area, would it not still have the same mass but affect a larger area with less penetration?


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Old May 26, 2012, 08:33 PM   #9
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Hobie
...Please explain how 473 pellets hitting at the same time, slightly dispersed, wouldn't have the same mass as a solid?...
Because penetration will be a function of sectional density. Sectional density is the ratio of a projectile's mass to its cross sectional area. It is a factor in determining how efficiently it can overcome resistance, and therefore how well it can penetrate. The greater the sectional density, the greater the projectile's ability to penetrate.

In measuring sectional density, we would look at each projectile individually. And a pellet of, for example, #6 shot, has a very low sectional density of about 211 grains/sq. in. with a diameter of 0.11 inch for a cross sectional area of 0.0095 square inch and a mass of about 2 grains. In contrast, a 230 grain, .45 caliber bullet has a sectional density of about 1,447 grains/sq. in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Hobie
...If I shot a solid 1 ounce load at something, it would penetrate how ever far. But, if I took that 1 ounce and spread it over a 3 inch area, would it not still have the same mass but affect a larger area with less penetration?...
Well yes, but what you want is penetration, not necessarily affecting a large area. Or, looking at it another way, trading penetration for area is counter productive. Bullets don't work in the same way as blunt force trauma.

There are four ways in which shooting someone stops him:
  1. psychological -- "I'm shot, it hurts, I don't want to get shot any more."
  2. massive blood loss depriving the muscles and brain of oxygen and thus significantly impairing their ability to function
  3. breaking major skeletal support structures
  4. damaging the central nervous system.

Depending on someone just giving up because he's been shot is iffy. Probably most fights are stopped that way, but some aren't; and there are no guarantees.

Breaking major skeletal structures can quickly impair mobility. But if the assailant has a gun, he can still shoot. And it will take a reasonably powerful round to reliably penetrate and break a large bone, like the pelvis.

Hits to the central nervous system are sure and quick, but the CNS presents a small and uncertain target. And sometimes significant penetration will be needed to reach it.

The most common and sure physiological way in which shooting someone stops him is blood loss -- depriving the brain and muscles of oxygen and nutrients, thus impairing the ability of the brain and muscles to function. Blood loss is facilitated by (1) large holes causing tissue damage; (2) getting the holes in the right places to damage major blood vessels or blood bearing organs; and (3) adequate penetration to get those holes into the blood vessels and organs which are fairly deep in the body. The problem is that blood loss takes time. People have continued to fight effectively when gravely, even mortally, wounded. So things that can speed up blood loss, more holes, bigger holes, better placed holes, etc., help.

So as a rule of thumb --
  • More holes are better than fewer holes.
  • Larger holes are better than smaller holes.
  • Holes in the right places are better than holes in the wrong places.
  • Holes that are deep enough are better than holes that aren't.
  • There are no magic bullets.

The bottom line is that a lower power cartridge with a smaller caliber bullet will make smaller holes and may not be able to as reliably penetrate to where those holes need to be to be most effective.
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Old May 26, 2012, 08:34 PM   #10
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I would guess the soft tissue below the ribs would be vaulnerable. I'm not sure if you hunt, but its the same reason you shoot turkeys in the head.
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Old May 26, 2012, 08:43 PM   #11
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My bedside SG is a 12 ga 870 loaded with 7 slugs and six more on the side saddle. My reasoning is this, I am good with the SG, I have seen people shot with about everything, and if I am down to the SG ( having used the pistols) I want artillery.
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Old May 26, 2012, 11:08 PM   #12
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My Choice #1 (.30 cal) Buck

This has been hashed out before, but here is my spin on it. First I believe the standard full throttle load of 00 buck (9 .33 pellets @ 1325 FPS) to be plenty of medicine at home defense ranges.

However, I being a perfectionist and a gun nerd, good enough is not the same as better or best.

My choice for close range HD loadings in a 12 gauge shot gun is Winchester #1 buck.

#1 Buck at .30 diameter is about as small as you can go and still get reliably deep penetration to ensure that vital, blood bearing organs are reached.

The cumulative pay load of a 16 pellet #1 buck load is 648 grains vs. 484.2 grains of 9 pellets 00.

The combined muzzle energy of #1 buck (16/ 40.5 gr. pellets at 1250fps) is 2260 ft lbs. VS 1898 ft lbs for 00 buck (9/ 54 gr. pellets at 1325 fps).

The cumulative surface area (Potential wound channel) for #1 buck (16/ .30 pellets) is 1.133 sq inches vs. .771 sq inches for 00 buck.

Recoil between the two different loadings is comparable.

My choice is #1 buck because it will create more deep wounds and produce a larger overall wound channel, increasing the potential incapacitation ability of this loading over the standard 00 loading.
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Old May 27, 2012, 08:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Will the 1173 foot pounds of 1 ounce of lead(at the muzzle), even though the pellets are starting to disperse at 15 feet, knock the dog poop out of the perp?
If you shoot anyone (not wearing body armor) center-mass with a 12ga load of #8 or larger shot at 15 feet I highly doubt they'd walk away or do any fighting back. And whoever's left after all the statements are taken will have a mell of a hess to clean up.

That said, I don't load my home defense shotgun with anything smaller than #4 buck.
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Old May 27, 2012, 09:27 AM   #14
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I personally wouldn't even want to be shot at close range with a 12 gauge loaded with mini marshmallows!
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Old May 27, 2012, 09:29 AM   #15
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I love this forum! I really appreciate you folks taking the time to allow me to learn things I'd never would of thought of otherwise.

I'm going to the range this afternoon and shoot my 870 to get more comfortable with it. I'm going to go buy some different brands of buck to practice with. I put a Limbsaver butt pad on it to reduce the recoil(hopefully since the gun bruised me the last time I shot it with full magnum loads)and hope that allows me to shoot more rounds.

Thanks again!

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Old May 27, 2012, 11:11 AM   #16
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No. 1 buckshot.

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm
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Old May 27, 2012, 05:00 PM   #17
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I've seen #4 birdshot penetrate the ribcage of a smallish deer at 15 yards+/- some of it under the opposite side skin and a few totally. I've also seen a load of #6 blow through the skull of a cow at close range. At across the room distance any shotload over 20 guage will devastate the target unless it's wearing a flakvest.
I don't know if any of the worthy advisors have actually used a shotgun up close but I have a few times.
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Old May 27, 2012, 05:42 PM   #18
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#4 buckshot for me

shot it today to check out the moss 500, 19 inch long barrel.

27 pellets, almost 1/4" diameter.

At 7 yds, pretty well covered the torso.

I have the death funnel covered even if awakened, scared slitshess and in the dark.
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Old May 27, 2012, 09:13 PM   #19
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Please read!

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm
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Old May 27, 2012, 09:57 PM   #20
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I never been attacked by a block of jello. I will stick to 00 buck and slugs. I live in the country with my wife and 4 legged kids, 2 legged kid is married and not at home.
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Old May 28, 2012, 07:48 AM   #21
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As far as I know, most LE agencies use 2-3/4" 00 buckshot loads for their shotguns. They'd also have the most experience with using their shotguns against BGs in critical situations. To my way of thinking, that's a good recommendation.
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Old May 28, 2012, 08:57 AM   #22
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Hobie,

In answer to your first question, take a look at the journal article posted at https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2000/...ide-difference .

With any defensive firearm, there are two basic factors at work in stopping an assailant: projectile placement, and projectile penetration. Both are critical, neither usually works too well alone/in isolation. Placement is mostly up to the shooter, penetration is mostly up to the firearm and ammunition used.

Keep in mind - for any number of reasons, a defender might only get ONE shot in a given defensive situation. I don't count on getting followup shots, and I wouldn't start off with an ineffective load with the idea in mind that I'd be able to shoot again if I needed to.

I've heard the "#1 buck is best" schtick ever since my first hunter safety class forty years ago. I have yet to find a shotgun that patterns #1 buck worth a darn. I'm told they exist, but I have yet to find one. On the other hand, I have little trouble getting pretty much any size pattern of 00 buck I want these days, simply by changing manufacturers/loads. I experiment with a good many loads and shot sizes, but what I keep loaded in the 'house guns' is Federal LE-127 00 with Brenneke KO slugs in the Sidesaddles.

Give Clint Smith a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhJ-p-72p8Y and consider buying the video from which these clips are taken, or equivalent productions from Louis Awerbuck, Tom Givens etc. If you can manage it, take a defensive shotgun class from a good instructor. IMHO your ability to run the gun under pressure and hit what you shoot at is ultimately more important that what comes out of the muzzle when you press the trigger.
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Old May 28, 2012, 11:53 AM   #23
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Is there an assumption, in this thread, that you will only shoot once?
What if you shoot more than once, or twice or three times or...........
If the goal is to keep shooting until the threat is neutralized, wouldn't you?
What are the effects of supposedly less effective loads, then?
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Old May 28, 2012, 01:49 PM   #24
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I've shot a lot of squirrel, rabbit, dove, and quail with #6 shot, some at pretty close range. I don't think I've ever shot one and not found shot still inside the animal. If I cannot get complete penetration on an 1/4 lb. animal, I wouldn't bet my life on getting enough penetration on a 250 lb. attacker.

Sure, at close range it may work, Maybe even probably work, but chances are pretty good you will get a pretty nasty looking wound that only goes 2-3" deep. Depending on the season and location an attacker could very well be wearing winter clothing which would soak up most of the pellets even at close range and cause no real damage. And there is no guarantee that your shot will be within 5-10 feet.

If birdshot is all I have I'd use it and make the best of it, but there is no reason to plan on birdshot as a primary ammo. There is absolutely no downside to just using buckshot in the 1st place.
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Old May 28, 2012, 08:28 PM   #25
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There's no downside to using buckshot, that's for sure.

But next time you're out, try shooting a load of #8 birdshot at a piece of 3/4" plywood scrap from 4 yards and see what happens. Some of it won't penetrate. That shot will be stuck in the plywood around the perimeter of the 3" hole blown through the middle...
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